What a fucking year it was for video games. Suffice to say that our Game of the Year discussion was more impassioned and more divisive than any year that has come before. You can check out OK Games Australia’s Game of the Year over on iTunes, Podbean or wherever you get your podcasts from. But here is my personal Top 10 games for 2017.
#10 – Tacoma
Man, I was not expecting Fullbright to be able to create a follow-on from Gone Home. If we’re being brutally honest, they didn’t. But I honestly believe they did the best job possible to make a game equally gripping with as many unique storytelling capabilities as its predecessor.
It is not often that I’m able to complete a game in one sitting, regardless of its length. But Tacoma pulled me in and kept me going right until the very end. It’s unique approach to storytelling meant I could get as much or as little out of the mystery as I wanted. The characters were diverse and well written. I fell in love with each and every one of them in turn, for their own reasons.
#9 – Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
It’s no shock to anyone that I’m not a big FPS fan. Least of all on a console. But whilst presented with a long weekend, I dove into Wolfenstein II and did not regret it one bit. The world that id and Bethesda have created is so rich with character and grit that I needed to see more of it. It did exactly what a game is supposed to do. It put you in the shoes of someone you will never be (BJ Blazkowicz) and lets you do things you’ve always wanted to (gutter stomp racists and homophobes).
It was a refreshing take on an otherwise stale (to me) genre of video games and if you even have the slightest desire for a brilliant narrative. Get Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and thank me later.
#8 – Super Mario Odyssey
Five years ago I would never have thought that one day I would willingly buy a Nintendo home console in preparation for a Mario game. But that just goes to show you how crazy 2017 was. Super Mario Odyssey gave me that feeling that everyone else has raved about Mario games for the longest time. It gave me nostalgia that I didn’t even know I had and topped it off with Pixar quality polish.
Super Mario Odyssey is a must own for anyone with a Nintendo Switch. Whether you want 10 hours of gameplay to see the credits or 40+ hours to collect every moon. There is literally something for every single person here.
#7 – Nier: Automata
I once heard somebody say…
“every time Nier: Automata ends, it gets better”
I do not think a more true statement was uttered this year. Neir: Automata makes you care about things that you do not care about. It forces you to fall in love with seemingly hollow shells of characters and overlook some questionable world design. All to [E]nd on a few brilliant and captivating ideas.
Video games are fucking awesome. Companionship is fucking awesome. Having dreams and goals is fucking awesome. Neir: Automata is fucking awesome.
#6 – Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
This game’s existence is an anomaly too me. I heard about it once years beforehand, then lo and behold what’s $40.00 and available now? One of the most creative and well-designed games I’ve ever played. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice plays with audio in a way that I’ve never experienced before. Unnerving, yet necessary. Harsh, yet beautiful. It tells a story that has been told 1,000 times before but does it in the most unique and pure way possible.
Mental illness sucks. Love is powerful. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is amazing.
#5 – Doki Doki Literature Club
Just… go and play Doki Doki Literature Club.
#4 – Night in the Woods
Night in the Woods reminds me of the coming of age, choose-your-own-adventure novels that I loved as a kid. It’s a very, very unique spin on those novels, but it is those novels nonetheless. The developers at Infinite Fall have this way of delivering a well fleshed out character through nothing more than varying types of text and animation. Put these characters in a world that I cannot empathize with at all and make me feel something? That’s good game design.
The whole game leaves me with a few questions – but none more overpowering than “what’s the go with pet cats in a world where cats live as people?”
#3 – Pyre
HOW GOOD ARE VIDEO GAMES?! Really good! And Pyre is one of the best. A cool spin on a done-to-death story. A brilliant narrative with a cast of diverse and wonderful characters that make you feel things. Weird religious basketball. Pyre has it all!
Top it off with the art of the AMAZING Jen Zee and fill those eardrums with the dulcet tones of Darren Korb and you, my friend, have a winner. Or, at the very least a second runner-up…
#2 – Cuphead
Cuphead has become my new staple “Hey, check out this game!” I legitimately believe that anybody, regardless of video game prowess, can get something out of Cuphead. The team at MDHR have created something that is truly and utterly unique. Which alone is a massive feat. But to do it with such finesse and such polish is a testament to not only their passion but their skill.
They’ve created a monster with Cuphead. But it’s a monster that I will gladly live under my bed.
#1 – Persona 5
– no one, ever
In my eyes, Persona 5 is the closest a game has ever come to perfection. It has flaws, that I will not deny, but they are so minute and so insignificant that my love for this game cannot be understated. Personal reasons aside, Persona 5 has breathed new life into a decaying genre. I’m yet to meet someone who did not like Persona 5. Whether they’d played a Persona game before or not was irrelevant. Whether they were JRPG fans or not was irrelevant. Whether they liked dumb anime bullshit or not was irrelevant.
The style, the music, the characters and the mystery is enough to suck anybody with a spare 100+ hours in and keep them in for the entire ride. Persona 5 will one day sit in the video game hall of fame. Mark my words.
I wish it never ended.
I said it at the start of this article, and I will reiterate now -what a fucking year it was for video games!
Between 100+ hour adventures like Persona 5 and 2-hour adventures like Tacoma. Between new installments of old favourites like Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and brand new, creative IPs like Cuphead. There were so many brilliantly unique and captivating titles each toting their own respective highlights. In a year filled with a whole bunch of lows. It’s really nice to look back at the year and the games we got to experience with favour and fondness.
2017, you fucking ruled.